Desulfurization of the hot reformate gas produced by catalytic partial oxidation or autothermal reforming of heavy fuels, such as JP-8 and jet fuels, is required prior to using the gas in a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Development of suitable sorbent materials involves the identification of sorbents with favorable sulfidation equilibria, good kinetics, and high structural stability and regenerability at the SOFC operating temperatures (650 to 800 C). Over the last two decades, a major barrier to the development of regenerable desulfurization sorbents has been the gradual loss of sorbent performance in cyclic sulfidation and regeneration at such high temperatures. Mixed oxide compositions based on ceria were examined in this work as regenerable sorbents in simulated reformate gas mixtures and temperatures greater than 650 C. Regeneration was carried out with dilute oxygen streams. We have shown that under oxidative regeneration conditions, high regeneration space velocities (greater than 80,000 h(sup -1)) can be used to suppress sulfate formation and shorten the total time required for sorbent regeneration. A major finding of this work is that the surface of ceria and lanthanan sorbents can be sulfided and regenerated completely, independent of the underlying bulk sorbent. This is due to reversible adsorption of H2S on the surface of these sorbents even at temperatures as high as 800 C. La-rich cerium oxide formulations are excellent for application to regenerative H2S removal from reformate gas streams at 650 to 800 C. These results create new opportunities for compact sorber/regenerator reactor designs to meet the requirements of solid oxide fuel cell systems at any scale.